No time for chit-chat. Draft day is fast approaching.
Draft Him – Martin Prado (ADP 75). Prado is simply an asset. He’s a solid hitter with a little more power than you’d think. He’ll likely hit at or near the top of the lineup, which should help his counting stats. He contributes in nearly every offensive category without hurting in any. In most leagues, Prado will begin the year with 2B and 3B eligibility. He should add outfield eligibility quickly, which will increase his appeal considerably. Outfield isn’t very deep this year, especially if your league requires that you start more than three outfielders. Side note – If you’re in a league with only three outfielders, do better. Put it all together and you have a solid contributor with eligibility in three relatively scarce positions.
Not Him – Brian Wilson (ADP 67). The man who threw the last pitch of 2010 certainly belongs in the first tier of closers for 2011. However, while you could make an argument that he sits atop this group, you could probably make the same case for two or three other relievers. Still, Wilson’s ADP of 66 means he’s being taken first amongst closers. I don’t like the idea of drafting the first player at any position unless he’s clearly the best player at said position. You’re better off waiting for Joakim Soria (ADP 86) two rounds later. Injury update: Wilson is currently considered questionable for the start of the season with what is being described as mild oblique strain.
Draft Him – Billy Butler (ADP 86). Here we have the perfect recipe for an undervalued player. Last year Butler improved his walk rate, strikeout rate, OPS, and batting average. Unfortunately for him, his home run total decreased to 15. I say unfortunately, but it’s fortunate for me (and hopefully you) because it’s the low home run total that’s keeping his ADP in the mid 80s. True, Butler isn’t going to explode for 45 home runs anytime soon. As of now, he hits too many ground balls (47.7% GB rate) to be considered a true power hitter. However, he’s only 24 years old. People used to say Joey Votto hit a few too many ground balls. Now he’s a first-rounder. Don’t get me wrong. Butler isn’t going to be a top 10 pick in 2012. However, he does have both the time and the talent to improve. And, considering how his underlying numbers are trending, he isn’t likely to underperform even if 2011 isn’t a true breakout season.
Not Him – Curtis Granderson (ADP 71). If you wore pinstripes to work, would it improve your job performance? Me too, but that’s just us. For the vast majority of people, it won’t make a difference. Still, I can’t help but feel that a player who hasn’t hit over .250 since 2008 is being over-drafted in large part due to the “NYY” next to his name. His stats say he should be taken around Pick 100. Moreover, at age 30, he’s unlikely to have sudden improvement in his overall skill set. Don’t overpay.
Draft Him – Aramis Ramirez (ADP 89). If you owned him last year, he’s likely on your “Do not draft” list for 2011. Studies show three out of four Ramirez owners don’t actually believe he finished last season with 25 home runs. After all, his batting average didn’t climb above .200 until July 9 (a statistic that makes his final average of .241 oddly impressive). Ramirez injured his thumb early in the year and proceeded to do what all fantasy owners want their players to in such a situation. He played (horribly) for two months before finally going on the disabled list. Thanks a pant-load. Still, the handling of his injury has created enough hate to hide his second half performance. Ramirez’ full year totals may look pretty bad, but there’s a buying opportunity here — if you can forgive him.
Not Him – Neftali Feliz (ADP 88). Let’s get this out of the way first. Feliz’ fantasy value is higher, much higher, if he remains a closer. In fact, a ninth round pick is justifiable if you know he’ll be getting saves. Unfortunately, as of this writing, his role remains uncertain. If Feliz becomes a starter, his value will take a hit because of the seemingly unlimited depth of quality starting pitchers this season. Players such as Jonathan Sanchez, Brett Anderson, Colby Lewis, Phil Hughes, Daniel Hudson, and Brandon Morrow are all going in the 14th round or later. If Feliz turns out to be a starter, is he noticeably better than all of them? Is he noticeably better than any of them? I don’t know either. What I do know is a ninth round selection could prove to be 60 picks too early by Opening Day.
Drew is a born Yankees fan who, not surprisingly, doesn’t particularly care for the Red Sox or Mets. He does, however, have a soft spot in his heart for most small market franchises. He gets an uneasy feeling every time the Yankees overpay for latest big name, and fears they may someday begin to acquire whole teams. Drew has been playing both fantasy baseball and football for 10 years. You can catch up with Drew in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name Case Ace.
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